Alright!! We are onto box #2….Hello Fresh! Hello Fresh got its start actually overseas in Europe and Asia in 2011. The founders researched business models from Sweden to Japan, studying food delivery and service. In 2012, they started to package shopping bags for delivery in Berlin, Amsterdam and London primarily focusing on highly populated areas in Europe. In 2013, Hello Fresh set out to solve the “What’s for Dinner Tonight” problem and conquered it. Hello Fresh became present in the United States in December 2012, starting with the East Coast and expanding nationwide by September 2014. In November 2015, Hello Fresh and Chef Jamie Oliver teamed up to make it even easier for people to cook delicious, nutritious food from scratch in their own homes and to empower people to make better food choices and cook using fresh ingredients, no matter what their lifestyle. I used to watch Jamie Oliver growing up on The Food Network, so I was excited to try one of his recipes and loved the idea of it being a healthy option! Here we go!
Again, just like Plated the Hello Fresh site is friendly and easy to use. There are different meal options that Plated, more actually (see below). Hello Fresh offers a classic box, herbivore box and even a family box that has some more kid friendly options. I was able to apply another coupon code found online, again, so at least I won’t be charged too much to try my first box. I was able to sign up quickly, choose my meals and delivery date and was well on my way! I chose the classic box for 2 ppl, 3 meals.
Weekly Meal Options (per person, per meal ranges between $8-$10)
Classic Box (For Omnivores)
2 People, 3 meals, $69.00
2 People, 4 meals, $84.90
2 People, 5 meals, $99.00
4 People, 3 meals, $129.00
Veggie Box (For Herbivores)
2 People, 3 meals, $59.00
4 People, 3 meals, $109.00
Family Box (Kid Friendly)
4 People, 2 meals, $79.95
4 People, 3 meals, $105.00
Sooooo…THURSDAY afternoon, I got a FedEx shipping notification that came directly from FedEx and not Hello Fresh. At first I was like, what moronic virus is this and thought of all the horrible “delivery” puns I could conjure up. Once I open it up, I realized it was from Hello Fresh and that my Saturday delivery is being shipped out on THURSDAY….see how I keep capitalizing that day? You’ll find out why later. That was the most communication I got from Hello Fresh since the order confirmation. On Saturday afternoon, my box was delivered and left in the front vestibule of my condo building, not near my condo door or the mailroom. That bothers me. The box arrived with the bottom slightly sagging and looked like it had been thrown around, also something that bugs me as there is food in there, not packing peanuts. The box was large and awkwardly heavy! The packing of this box was interesting. There were three separate white cardboard boxes each labeled with the recipe and ALL the ingredients were inside each box. I like that organization better, but it was hard to store those boxes in my chef laden fridge. If I had taken the components out of those boxes, I would have had a hard time finding what I needed come cooking time as the individual components didn’t have any recipe reference on them. Oh well, suck it up and deal. Then underneath were 5 ice packs and the ground pork and chicken were nestled underneath…but the meat was slightly warmer than it should have been, definitely not frozen as one would think. Side note: Plated sent me 2 packs and my meat was frozen)….confused. I did peek into one of the individual boxes and the produce was sparse and some was even limp at first glance. and the other ingredients were in mini jars/bottles of their brand name full size cousins (think airline ketchup and liquor bottles). The three dinners I got were Thai Pork Laarb Burger, Jamie Oliver’s Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognese, and Paprika Rubbed Chicken. First up, Thai Pork Laarb Burger!
Thai Pork Laarb Burger with Cucumber-Mint Salad
Calories: 713 per serving, Fat: 45g, Protein: 27g, Carbs: 49g, Sodium: 838 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Store Cost: $13.33 for 2ppl
First of all, this recipe card had TOO MUCH information on it! Between all the nutrition fact, allergy number chart, ruler (yes, a ruler to measure pieces), tools…then you finally get to the recipe itself…. yowza. Ok, I can cough some of that up to being new to their format having just come off of Plated, but it was a lot to take in. This dish was a riot from the start. Lemongrass is already tricky for a trained chef, but asking some poor schmuck to core a stalk of lemongrass from its fibrous outer layers is like asking me to replace the fan belt in my car…. wait, what???? I know what one is, do I know where it is or how to replace it, NO. After that…hehehehehe…. I can’t stop laughing about this, they give you this jar of mayonnaise that isn’t premeasured. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of it in the sauce. Insert problem now…. look at the pic…most standard size tablespoons WILL
NOT fit into that jar. I laugh because I can already picture the numerous amounts of home cooks that will attempt to see if it does fit, even I am guilty of it!!! LOL! Of course, you use a smaller spoon and work on getting it out…but man, that made my day. I hated using the individually portioned sriracha packets (think fast food ketchup packets), you never quite get all of it out…annoying. Not the worst thing was the ground pork. Yeah….take a look…closely. What does that remind you of? PINK SLIME. The pork was too fine and had the weirdest texture, aside from that, it was hard to get out of the plastic and just created a giant mess. Upon assembling the patties, I noticed the recipe asked for a good pour of soy sauce and also salt. Well, my chef brain screamed
NO!!!!!!! I mean I was appalled. I use one or the other, not both, at least not in those quantities. Since I couldn’t taste the raw mixture, I had to follow the recipe as I was not a chef, but just a consumer. I put my normal 1/4 tsp in with 10 grinds of pepper. The cucumber salad was an odd bird as well. The cucumber was too soft to be peeled into ribbons, I got a great facial though! My skin felt really refreshed after! The salad asked for salt…again…I obliged and of course salt extracts water and causes flooding. Nonetheless, I did what was asked of me and the dish was successfully completed in 30 mins.
Taste and Presentation:
SALT BOMB….what did I tell you about the soy sauce and salt in the patties???!!! I KNEW IT!!! UGH. I sabotaged my own dish because I turned off my chef brain. UGH. So gross. The flavors of the burger were good though, great spice. The cucumber salad was a stupid side. I didn’t mind it as a topping to the burger, but offered nothing as a side dish except for the pooling water that eventually made my bun soggy. As you can see, I didn’t even finish the burger as I couldn’t take down the salt.
Final Thoughts & Rating:
This dish had the potential of being amazing! Honestly. I liked the bold Thai flavors and even the cucumber salad was refreshing. I just think there are some major issues in execution. Basics like salt and soy sauce should be given some consideration. Even a warning about using less salt that you would normally because there is soy sauce in this dish. An amateur cook isn’t going to always know that. There is some light here, but not without the dark salty tunnel All in all, I give this dish a 2/5. Next up, Jamie Oliver’s Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognese!
Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognese with Golden Herby Bread Crumbs (really, HERBY?)
Calories: 730 per serving, Fat: 13g, Protein: 30g, Carbs: 118g, Salt: 200mg,
Store Cost: $12.73 for 2ppl
I was really excited for this recipe as it was from Jamie Oliver and it was super healthy and also a plus being vegetarian! But here we go, the recipe card was a problem from the start. Why you ask?? Because it’s different from the Hello Fresh standard ones!! I just got used to their format as it was! Also, a lot of the terms were proper English than American, which can really confuse a person. “Tip” is another word for pour or add to the pot. Can’t you just freaking say put the tomatoes in, put the lentils in, put the rest of the crap in the pot! For freak’s sake, do they have any idea who their customer base is? Ok, back to the recipe, the directions were confusing a bit. The water quantities for boiling the lentils, pasta and the porcini mushrooms was not numerical and as much as I know, even I found that a bit harrowing. Pasta and lentils, sure most of us have had some experience…but rehydrating porcini mushrooms…hey dum dums…most people can’t get past the word rehydrate!!! The produce was ok, but again the measurements were off. They gave you a lot of thyme, of which some was brown, but didn’t tell you how much they gave you in terms of ounces. This is important because the recipe doesn’t call for number of sprigs, it asks for 1/4 ounce. Well, again, how do we know what that is? Do you use all of it? Do you only use some? Why is the rosemary measured in sprigs and the thyme isn’t? Also, I didn’t use all the rosemary they gave me, only the one sprig as the recipe said, so I stored the rest of the 4 sprigs I got. So when it came to the thyme, I didn’t know whether to use all of it, one sprig or 4!! I did some research and used about 1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme. Maybe I am being too remedial, but hey, as someone that doesn’t know thyme from rosemary, this could prove to be quite the kitchen drama! The rest of the process went smoothly except for the 3 temperature changes to the sauce, I’m still trying to figure out why it went from med-low to medium-high back down to medium low….it wasn’t going to make a lick of difference had I just left it at the usual medium. For reference, I used about 2tsp salt and 12 grinds of pepper upon tasting the final sauce as there was no salt added earlier. Ok, that was exhausting…let’s go eat.
Taste and Presentation:
OK, so just by the picture, it’s very one dimensional color wise. I hate that. The pasta is brown, the sauce is brown and the breadcrumbs were brown with some green specks. Not photogenic and in person, it wasn’t all that much better. The sauce was good as the lentils were a nice protein substitution to ground meat as a traditional bolognese would have. The breadcrumbs were tasty and added some nice texture. Now, the pasta…that was gross. It was like eating those vines licorice ropes, you know the thin ones, but made with cardboard. They kinda broke down in your mouth when you chewed, but then because the overwhelming fiber of the cardboard just permeated your mouth, it was hard to decide whether to spit or swallow. I could not get past the texture of that pasta. I make whole wheat pasta myself and that wasn’t it. Now, maybe it was a personal preference of mine, but I thought the pasta ruined the sauce, which was great!
Final Thoughts & Rating:
This dish definitely needed salt and a few more colors. I thought the directions were lopsided and inconsistent just even in the ingredient list. All in all, I give this dish a 2/5. Final dinner…Paprika Rubbed Chicken!
Paprika Rubbed Chicken with Barley, Tomato and Avocado Salad
Calories: 533 per serving, Fat: 20g, Protein: 46g, Carbs: 46g, Sodium: 131mg
Store Cost: $13.29 for 2ppl
Ok, now we are back to the normal Hello Fresh recipe cards! YAAAY! Prep for this dish was relatively easy, so I don’t have much to gripe about there. I am going to take a minute and talk to you about produce. The cucumber that was given was large, and I was instructed to cut it into 1/2-inch cubes, so I did so using their ruler. I didn’t know whether to discard the seeds, it didn’t tell me to discard the seedy core as it did in an earlier recipe. So I left it in. The tomato on the recipe card itself and the directions is seen as tiny halved grape tomatoes. what did they send me? A small roma tomato that is smaller than my palm. As one of 4 main components in a dish, with it being the only one with any sweetness and acidity, I expected a larger tomato, or 2 small ones, or heck, why not just send me the grape tomatoes as pictured??? Yes, I have major gripes about fake advertising. By the time I got done coring, seeding and cubing the tomato I had like 8 pieces for 2 portions…that’s not acceptable. The scallion looked like someone ran over it with a car and the saving grace was the avocado, which was perfect. Thank GOD. The prep on the chicken was basic and easy, although I did question the timing on the sear, but the outcome wasn’t as burnt as I thought. The barley was the only thing that took its time to make and there was a lot of wait time on it, which put me at 35 mins from start to finish versus their projected of 30 mins.
Taste and Presentation:
This dish was actually tasty! I liked how basic and simple it was. The cucumbers were too big though, I thought 1/4 inch pieces would have made for a more cohesive bite. Again, I needed more tomato for color and sweetness. The salad itself was kind of ugly as it was covered in regular balsamic vinegar which made the avocado look like it was oxidized, not the best visually.
Final Thoughts & Rating:
Visually, I wasn’t that happy with the dish, but I did like the freshness and flavors of it. I think the chicken was nice and dare I say it again…MOIST!!!!! (ew). The process was simple and concise. The salad was unbalanced in terms of piece size and quantity and I would have dressed it with white balsamic or even just lemon juice. I don’t care for barley, so I shall not talk about it. I give this dish a 3/5.
Oh boy….so, this didn’t go so well for the most part. I wasn’t happy from the moment I unpacked my boxes just looking at the lack of care they give to food delivery. I would gladly pay $6 for an upgraded delivery service than the fact that delivery is free with Hello Fresh. As stated, I thought the packaging of the recipe ingredients was efficient, but a bit bulky if you are strapped for space. I suggest emptying the boxes into freezer bags with a label to save space. The portion sizes were decent and enough for two people. I think Hello Fresh needs to work on their consistency in terms of their recipe cards and terminology. Which reminds me that there is this “Substitutions” Sheet in with the recipe cards that would be helpful if it weren’t so stupid. Did you know that you can substitute baking powder with…ready for it? Cream of Tartar and baking soda!!!! OMG, that’s so awesome, except WHAT THE HECK IS CREAM OF TARTAR???? I mean, I know what it is, but $100 to the person that can tell me what it is without looking it up!!!! If someone doesn’t have baking powder, what are the realistic chances that they happen to have a stash of Cream of Tartar?? Think about it…really??? Another one, because these are just so amusing to me…did you know that if you need a cup of sugar, you can substitute it with powdered sugar, SIFTED! I mean who doesn’t have powdered sugar lying around and for that matter a sifter handy???? You can’t use the substitution without the sifter, nope, that powdered sugar is USELESS unless you have a sifter. I would have rather they told me to go ask my neighbor to borrow sugar, at least there is some humor in it. If someone is new to the kitchen and the world of cooking, don’t make it harder and more intimidating that it is, it’s just cruel. I think the price point of $69 to the $72 from Plated is absurd. I’m saving 3 whole dollars for bad produce, very little customer service and crap delivery. It’s the little details and touches that people remember and what makes them come back as repeat customers, Hello Fresh gets a 2.5/5.